Brady Johnson likes to find a different way to help people on her birthday each year.
This year she came up with Birthday in a Bag, after she saw the idea on the website of Fresh Life Church, which is an online church. Since she turned 29 in November, she decided her goal would be connected to that number.
“This year I wanted to try to raise 29 Birthdays in a Bag. I think that birthdays are really special and I think that everybody deserves to feel really special, especially on their birthday,” she told Lifestyles. “And I know there are a lot of children in our community and in a number of communities who don’t have the opportunity to have a birthday party or feel special on their birthday.”
The Birthday in a Bag includes cake mix, icing, some party favours such as plates, cups or masks, to go along with the birthday theme and a small toy. So many people were willing to get involved.
Johnson owns Encompass Fitness in Estevan, and members of her staff contributed some bags. Local businesses and even complete strangers were willing to support her effort. Bienfait Weldon School came on board, and the Grade 7 and 8 Leadership Class collected 34 bags on their own.
A total of 67 bags were collected to be distributed throughout Estevan.
“I think it’s just incredible how many giving people we have in our community and especially in a time that’s maybe not as prosperous for people to be generous. I think it’s incredible that the students wanted to be involved and that their families supported them in that.”
The bags will be distributed to students at local schools. Teachers can apply for bags for students who are from low-income families and might not get a birthday celebration.
“We have so many bags that we’re actually trying to figure out what we’d like to do with them, whether they’ll go to communities around us, or whether we’ll distribute some of the bags without toys to those in the nursing home or just those who may not feel special on their birthday,” she said.
If anyone would like to get involved, Johnson has many bags that have party supplies but do not have gifts. People can also still drop off a bag of their own. If anyone knows somebody who would be a great candidate for a bag, they can contact Johnson at Encompass Fitness.
Last year Johnson did a dressed for Success campaign and received 167 items for the organization, which helps women in Regina get off the streets and find permanent employment.
And she’s pleased to see this year’s support stay in the community.
“I think the coolest thing is just how willing people are in the community to get involved. I’m just an ordinary person, and I think that any ordinary person with an extraordinary idea can have a huge impact. Everyone who has donated has shown that.”
The success of Birthday in a Bag has also set the bar high for next year, when she will turn 30. Johnson knows that she’ll have to come up with something big for the milestone.